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The study of development of feathers, finds its roots in various facets of body structure of dinosaurs, especially theropods which are considered the primitive forms of reptiles and the starting point of the evolution of birds. The theropod dinosaurs were carnivorous bipedal type of dinosaurs and they used their organs for hunting. A research on one of the particular species of theropod dinosaurs by the dinosaur biologist Jaques Gautheir of Yale University show that the flight movements of birds have links to the savaging activities of these dinosaurs or overgrown lizards. Jaques supports his concept by taking the example of the tooth row of the dinosaur which is situated in front of the eye, its short stiff trunk, wide pelvis and the long tail.
The fore arm of this dinosaur has three fingers which nearly spans one third of the arm and is as long as the leg. The dinosaur is supposed to use its raptorial organs to catch the prey first which would have been at a considerable distance from the body, then bringing it towards its body by grabbing it, keeping the neck straight using the bones of the neck. These stereotyped movement of arms going down forward and then up and back, very well resembled the movement of the wings of the bird when it took a flight, moving the wings first down forward and then lifting them up and back.
It was believed by many scientists, that feathers were elongate-scales or the scales later increased in length to attain a form of feathers. After nearly hundred years, this theory lost ground when Sinosauropteryx was discovered in the Chinese province of Liaoning. This small theropod dinosaur resembled the birds and it had a downy covering appearing like a black halo. On the tail of this organism were found, the fine fibers. These fiber like structures had branches around a stalk. So, this downy structure negated similarities to scales.
Feathers were assumed by many scientists as a means of insulation from heat to using it for attracting the mates. There were a range of ideas on the purpose of evolution of feathers. Flight obtained the main focus. After the backdrop of feathers were deciphered, there were enquiries made into the flight mechanism. It was found that as the dinosaurs ran after the prey, they may have developed the flight or might have achieved the ability to fly as a requirement for hopping from one branch to other.